Thursday, July 19, 2012

Krista West Vestments, an encomium

Many moons ago I posted on my search for a cassock in preparation for seminary (see here). It was not a satisfying experience in any way. After having to re-sew on every button and re-attach the ties I took a gamble and believed the care instructions provided with the garment. In cold water on a very short wash, I let the cassock air dry for the evening. I returned to find a garment much smaller than it had been only the night before. Acknowledging the small chance of Hulk-inducing gamma radiation, the swelling properties of my morning coffee, or mischievous sprites I bowed my head in memory of this tormented bit of vestiture.

I was then down to one cassock - the "nice" one that was previously an item in the wardrobe of our bishop of blessed repose - which put me in a predicament. Where to get a replacement? I looked back at my list and immediately threw out both the tailor-who-shall-not-be-named and those sources I was told by friends were hard to contact, hard to pay, or never delivered things on any sort of timetable. That actually took most of those retailers off the list. Then I took my much whittled-down list and pondered it for a bit.

In the past I have purchased things for friends (e.g. a travel epitrachil for a graduating seminarian) from Kh. Krista West because I never had to worry about the quality of the product or the delivery time. Her prices are more expensive than some, but no one wants to send a letter promising a belated present or abashedly hand over a motley end product made of poorly fashioned bits and pieces and fat quarters. Harkening back to my good experiences of the past, and of a then still unused monetary graduation present from finishing up graduate school recently, I shot the good Khouria an email.

We went back and forth a bit on fabric, collar type, and the attendant cost of those choices. Not wanting a repeat of the "mystery fabric" of my last purchase nor the Croesian opulence of silk, I went with the performance fabric. So now for measuring. Measuring is a dying practice as we grow more and more casual in our dress. That said, I tried to go to a tailor with my handy-dandy measurements sheet, but quickly learned that we were not speaking the same language. I then handed over the measuring tape to the wife. Again my anxiety about receiving a Hagrid-sized cape got the better of me, so we phoned Kh. Krista with our questions. She walked us through some of the more arcane measurements and I emailed her the resulting numbers. One wonders if Slim Fast would do well to donate promotional packets knowing that they have a defenseless audience.

She received the information and responded that night. Not that night plus two months like yet-another-company-I-shall-not-name, but in a timespan measured in hours and not by the phases of the moon. We confirmed the date I needed it by and she got to work.

When I opened the box I was delighted to see that it fit perfectly. It breathed. It was made of a fabric not used as a parachute to slow the descent of astronauts. It had buttons that were both functional and sewn securely. It was truly black and not greenish-black or grey. It made my day.

So give her a shot at your business. I'd also recommend subscribing to her newsletter (see here), which is as good for hints and reminders as it is for deals and discounts.


  1. I concur: I got a wool cassock from Kh. Krista a few years back--it wasn't cheap but I definitely got what I paid for. Great fit, and still looks good.

    I, too, had to make my first-cassock mistake; originally went which an off-the-rack company & in that case while it was cheap, I also got what I paid for.

  2. I too have ordered items from her. I lived in Portland, OR and could visit her personally. I have a cassock and subdeacon orarion made. Very good quality. If I get more money sometime, I will order more vestments from her.

    Sbdn John

  3. I've ordered a tropical weight wool cassock from her as well, and am nothing but pleased. Excellent work, and so fast I would swear she didn't sleep until it was done!

  4. She made my wife's baptismal robe! It was beautiful.